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Louise Thompson on traumatic childbirth

Health and Mental Health

Louise Thompson on traumatic childbirth

Speaking on ITV earlier today the Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson spoke exclusively to Lorraine about how she is still healing from her traumatic birth after suffering a near-death experience and a traumatic few years as a new mum.

She also bravely opened up about her new stoma bag which she had fitted last month and whether or not she would be able to have another child.

Speaking about her new book ‘Lucky’ and the meaning behind the name, she said: “I think I’ve reached a place now where I do genuinely feel lucky to have survived and come out the other side, and to be okay physically but mentally as well because there is a point in time where I never, ever, ever thought I would get back to this place. I was verging on… I wasn’t able to function following the childbirth…”

“I’ve had several life-saving operations now and in total, I think I’ve lost twelve litres of blood over the course of just a couple of years. And prior to all of this, I had no experience of a hospital environment. I’d been really, really well, very healthy; like the poster girl of health. Nothing could have prepared me for it.”

Opening up on how she had to have an emergency c-section during childbirth: “I had pretty severe anxiety following a miscarriage. I was involved in a house fire just before birth. I really wanted a c-section and I knew that from the beginning. I wasn’t somebody who dreamt of a water birth or a home birth. I felt like I wasn’t listened to and there wasn’t a lot of consistency of care and I was pointed in lots of different directions. I just felt like I had to jump over a lot of hurdles to even be seen… If it had been a planned c-section it could have been avoided.

She continued: “One of the things that was really, really horrific about the whole experience was that I wasn’t put to sleep. I was awake during the operation which was over three hours with my partner in the room witnessing it too. It’s unthinkable. I think that that definitely contributed to the development of PTSD because you’re aware of everything that’s going on. You’re witnessing yourself bleed to death and you can see the panic in the room, you can feel the shaky hands on your body. I wish that I had been put to sleep. I have spoken to some other women who have been through some fairly traumatic births and they were put under general anaesthetic and their partner had to leave the room. It was one of the things that I questioned when I went back for my birth debrief when I finally felt strong enough two years later to try and get some answers – there wasn’t really a good explanation to be honest.” 

Revealing how she is doing now, Louise said: “I am doing really well now. I’m 95% back to the old me. [But] I will still have to live with having PTSD for my whole life. It’s not just something you can get rid of.” 

Speaking about the effect that the trauma had on her partner and how that has impacted their relationship, she said: “I think throughout the recovery, especially in the early days, we had no relationship. We were both so traumatised dealing with our own version of PTSD. He is still not in a place where he feels ready to start proper therapy yet. 

“When I finally did come home after spending nearly a month in hospital, he would lie awake all night checking on me, all night worried I was going to die. He would have flashbacks too. He maybe had more typical PTSD symptoms, like a lot of avoidance symptoms. He never wanted to talk about anything and he would get really angry whenever he drove past the hospital and he couldn’t go in. He’s now had to take Leo for one appointment and that was very brave of him to break that cycle. The impacts of trauma have really been like a tidal wave. They rip their way through every aspect of your life.”

Speaking about Louise’s new stoma bag, ‘Winnie’, which she had to have fitted last month due to an ongoing ‘very serious medical condition’, Lorraine said: “Louise, this helps people no end who are going through the same thing. I think it’s brilliant that you’ve just said ‘this is me, this is what I’m living with’. 

Louise replied: “I feel so good. This is the best I have felt in two and a half, three years and even pre-pregnancy. I feel really well, even to the point my family and friends have said ‘maybe I should have my colon removed’.” 

Revealing if she will ever be able to have kids again, Louise said: “It’s still fairly inconclusive. I will never mentally be strong enough to carry a child and physically I have something called asherman syndrome where my uterus is glued together with scar tissue. I suppose in one sense, it’s a bit of a miracle that I didn’t have to have a hysterectomy, so I do still have a womb. I had a year with no periods, then I had a surgery to try and fix that and then that ended up in another haemorrhage so where I am left currently is that the hospital have sort of said ‘It would be too threatening. We wouldn’t want to do another surgery in that area. Let’s let you live’. Equally I am so grateful to have one beautiful, healthy child who has lots of friends and cousins. I do have ovaries and embryos so there is a chance I could freeze some eggs… when I am ready…” 

Lorraine weekdays from 9am on ITV1, STV, STV Player and ITVX

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